Mt. Kilimanjaro Gear List

Anyone who knows me knows that I love gear. Preparing for Kilimanjaro was a good opportunity to upgrade or replace my gear collection. After all, it wouldn’t be acceptable to travel around the world to climb a mountain with last season’s gear. Early on, I identified items that I needed to replace, items that I didn’t have, and items I would like to have.

Since we will be climbing with our guides from Embark Expeditions, they will provide all the group gear. This includes kitchen setup, food, tables, chairs, dinning tent, restroom, individual tents as well as any other group type equipment that we might need.  Each climber is only responsible to bring items for their personal use. They might also include a card game, candy, or other snack that you might want to share with the larger group.

Another benefit of using an experienced climbing and guide service is that they know what you need to make it to the top. This makes it much easier when trying to remember what to bring.

I have compiled my gear list for the climb using recommendations from Embark Expeditions. I have also included personal items I know that I need for my camera and comfort, as well as items that I know (or think) I will want. When I am packing, we might leave a lot more out than I initially thought I would take.

Bags (Travel and Climbing)

For this climb, we need to bring two bags.  One bag will be carried during the day that includes camera, extra layers, and snacks. The second bag will have the rest of our gear like sleeping bag, and clothes. Our porters that will be assisting us on our climb and will pack this second bag to our camp.

Helly Hanson 90L Duffel 2, gear bag

Osprey Kestrel 48, daypack

Sleep System

Even though the nights can get very cold, I have chosen a 15-degree sleeping bag. To help with warmth, and keeping the bag clean, I also have a bag liner. While sleeping, I will also sleep in a layer to keep me warm throughout the night. My one regret with my sleeping pad is it is narrower than I would like. The wider one would be more comfortable, and be easier to stay on throughout the night. It was also recommended that you bring an emergency blanket. I am opting for the SOL Emergency Bivy. I generally will hike with one in the colder months. I will keep this my daypack. 

Mountain Hardwear Ratio 15 Degree, 650 Down Q-Tech, Regular

Alps Mummy Liner, MicroFiber

Therm-a-Rest Pillow Stuff Sack

Therma-a-rest NeoAir All Season SV


Our porters will collect and boil our drinking water, so I don’t need any kind of filter system. As part of my hiking essentials kit that I always take hiking, I will have a few tablets of chlorine dioxide to treat water if needed.

Ospry Hydraulic Reservoir, 3 liter

Ospry Hydraulic Insulated Hose

Nalgene Water Bottle

Gatorade Fruit Punch Powder (Only for the Nalgene)


I plan on bringing just enough clothes for the 8-days we will be climbing. To help keep things as clean and comfortable as possible, I will have a set of camp clothes that I will change into once we have arrived to our nightly camp. The only clothing that will be fresh every day will be socks and undergarments. 


Asolo Drifter GV Hiking Boots

Montrail Caldorado Trail Running Shoes

KepooMan 18 Teeth Claws Shoe Covers

Outdoor Research Expedition Crocodiles Gators, Gortex

9 pair Smartwool Expedition Trekking Socks

5 pari Smartwool Hiking Liner Socks

Lower Body

ExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go Sport Mesh 6'' Boxer Brief

Eddie Bauer First Ascent Base (Thermal) Layer – Bottoms

Eddie Bauer First Ascent Guide Pants

Mountain Hardwear Right Bank Shorts

Mountain Hardwear AP Belt

Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite Pants

Upper Body

Mountain Hardwear Fleece. ¼ Zip

Mountain Hardwear, Ghost Whisperer Puffy Hooded, 850 Down

Mountain Hardwear Plasmic OutDry Glove (Light Weight)

Eddie Bauer First Ascent Guide Gloves

Columbia Terminal Tackle Long sleeve

Mountain Hardwear Photon T-Shirt

Eddie Bauer First Ascent Base (Thermal) Layer – Top

Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite Jacket



Mountain Hardwear Dome Perigon Lite Beanie

Mountain Hardwear Wide Brim Hat (For sun)


Neck Buff

Camera Gear

One of the largest upgrades this year was my camera and lenses from a Nikon D5200 to the Nikon D500. I originally wanted to get the Nikon D810, as the Nikon D850 hadn’t been released at the time, and moved into full frame. In the end, my desire for the speed and focus of the Nikon D500 prevailed, getting better-quality wildlife photos was one of the reasons for the upgrade. I will go into more detail on my camera setup in an upcoming post.

One of the challenges I have been faced with on this trip is the best way to transport my gear for a three-week trip that has different requirements and limitations depending on the week. For the climb, I am taking only the essentials to save on weight.

Nikon D500

Sigma DC 17-50mm f2.8

Signa DC 18-250mm f3.5-6.3, Micro HSM

Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-4.5, Wide angle (Debating bring this on the climb)

Tiffen 77mm Variable Neutral Density (ND)

Hoya 77mm Polarizer

Filter step-down adapter 77mm – 62mm

Tiffen Filters Case

2x 128gb XQD Memory Cards

X2 128gb Lexar Pro 1000x/150mb SD Cards

Memory Card Case

5x Ravepower, 2100mAh Batteries with charger

RFN-4 TX Wireless Shutter Release

Peak Capture Pro

JOBY Tripod

Kelty Cache Box, Small

Sea to Summit, Ultra-Sil Drysack

Micro Cloth



 Keeping electronics charged can be a struggle on any extended hiking trip. The added issue with this climb is the cold. If I don’t keep batteries warm, the cold will affect the overall charge. In my book Backpacking and Camping Essentials, I have included a milliamp (mAh) calculation guide to help you decide what to bring on a trip. In a future post, I will go more in depth in backpacking power options, obstacles and solutions.

InReach Satellite Messenger Explorer

Anker PowerCore 26,800 mAh

iPod Nano, 16 GB

Samsung Tablet (Kindle app and editing photos)

iPhone 6s with a waterproof case


Whenever you go out hiking, or climbing a mountain, there are basic essentials that you should always take with you. I have modified my essential gear slightly for this climb because of the length and the anticipated adverse conditions.


Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Petzl TIKKA Head Lamp - 200 Lumens

Neutrogena Sunscreen, 50 SPF

Burts Bees Lip Balm, SPF 15

Adventure Medical Kits Blister Medic

Gerber Multi Tool

Zip Ties

Safety Pins

Paracord, 25 feet

Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Tabs

Gorilla Tape



Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles

Basic Pancho

MicroFfiber Towel

There is a lot to consider when keeping weight down, but at the same time ensuring that you have what you need. I will be doing a test pack in an upcoming post. I want to see if this will all fit, be underweight, and make sure I have everything I need. Keep an eye out for that in the next few weeks.

Next Mondays post: Heading out on Safari


4.2mm, 1/30 sec f/3.5, ISO 250, SONY DSC-H70, Handheld

4.2mm, 1/30 sec f/3.5, ISO 250, SONY DSC-H70, Handheld

Thursday's Photo

As exciting as gear is, the reason you buy it is to get out and experience the outdoors. This morning I was thinking about one of my favorite hikes, Rudolph Spur in the Columbia River Gorge. Unfortunately, this past summer, due to a massive wildfire, this area is closed until next year.

I came across a picture that I took in December 2012. It is a portion of the trail that is rather steep where you use notches that are cut into this log to continue up the trail. On this particular hike, the rain was steady and it was cold, toward the top I did run into light snow. However, it reminds me why I love the outdoors.